Carbs are good for you. They do tend to get a bad reputation because you do need to eat the right carbs for a healthy lifestyle. Unfortunately, most of us will get the simple, blood-sugar-raising carbs in our diets.
Healthy carbs help to give you energy throughout the day. While proteins and healthy fats are good for sustainable energy, sometimes you need a slightly quicker burst. This is where the healthy carbs come into play. They add some sugars to your body, without increasing the blood sugar levels and causing the insulin response. Healthy carbs won’t cause problems like diabetes and heart disease.
What are these healthy high carbs foods? Just what do you need to consume through the day to get an all-around healthy and balanced diet?
These seven foods are ones to add to your diet definitely.
Quinoa is a Better Pasta Alternative
While brown pasta is better than white pasta for your health, there are still some downsides. Quinoa (pronounces keen-way) is a better option for healthy carbs. Just over 21% of cooked quinoa is carbs, making it a high-carb option. At the same time, it’s packed with fiber and protein to look after your overall health.
It’s the fiber that helps to balance out the carbs. The fiber encourages the body to break down the food slowly, spacing out the amount of energy that you get. Rather than quickly metabolizing in the blood, the sugars will be spaced out and help to sustain your energy levels for longer without releasing as much insulin into your body. Quinoa is so good for you that studies have proven it helps to control blood sugar levels.
Why is it a much better option than pasta? There is no gluten at all in quinoa. It’s perfect for a gluten-free diet, whether you skip gluten for weight loss or health reasons.
It’s extremely easy to add to your meals. You can add it to salad, stews, soups, or even traditional pasta dishes to help bulk them out.
As quinoa is also full of protein and fiber, you’re left feeling fuller for longer. You’ll eat fewer calories throughout the day to aid with weight loss.
Get More Oats on a Morning
Start your morning with some oats. They are the healthiest high carb option around.
Oats aren’t just full of healthy carbs and fiber. They have antioxidants, minerals, and vitamins to support your whole health. They’re so good that they’re used in traditional and herbal remedies and diets recommended for all types of dietary needs. When you get raw oats, you will also get gluten free options, making them healthy for the gut.
Raw oats are 66% carbs and 11% fiber. More importantly, the fiber is soluble, helping to keep your digestive tract is full working order and supporting the lining within it. When the lining is supported, your body can absorb all the nutrients better. You will also get plenty of protein to help support the muscles, which is unheard of with most of grains.
Studies in patients with diabetes have found that oats can help to lower the blood sugar levels. This is likely due to the amount of fiber with the carbs. The sugars in oats don’t breakdown that easily, so they don’t metabolize in the sugars right away.
Oats are filling, meaning they are excellent options for those on a diet.
The downside to oats is they can taste bland. When making them on a morning, add natural sugary toppings. We have a few excellent options on this list that will give you healthy carbs and extra nutrients.
Stock Up on Bananas
The first topping for your oats is a banana. Chop it up or mash it into your porridge. Either way, you will get the health carbs and extra nutrients.
23% of bananas are carbs, usually in sugar or starch form. The green bananas are unripe and have more starchy carbs. When the bananas go yellow and softer, they have more natural sugars. Both have their pros and cons, but both are healthy when it comes to bananas.
You get a lot of fiber in bananas, helping to minimize the sugar metabolizing in the blood stream. There are also many nutrients that have been proven to help support the blood sugars and reduce the insulin resistance. The main nutritional benefit is potassium. This nutrient helps to decrease the risk of blood sugar problems and heart health issues.
Green bananas tend to be the best if you want to support the gut health. There is a large amount of pectin, which helps to increase the number of good bacteria. You’ll experience less discomfort and find your digestive system works effectively and absorbs most of the nutrients on off.
However, bananas tend to be higher in calories compared to most other fruits. You will tend to find one a day is enough to get all the benefits without weight gain.
Stick with Blueberries for a Topping
If you don’t want another banana on your oats, opt for blueberries instead. You don’t just have to eat them with oats for the carb benefits. A snack on their own is an excellent option.
Blueberries are considered a superfood due to some antioxidants and nutrients within them. Around 14% of blueberries are made up of carbs, but they are mostly water. This means fewer calories while making you feel fuller for longer. You’ll consume fewer blueberries than most of other fruits, and they are certainly an excellent idea when it comes to the summer months.
You’ll get antioxidants, vitamin C, and vitamin K, all helping to reduce oxidative stress and free radical damage in your body. There are also links that blueberries support the brain health through the manganese levels and antioxidants.
If you want to do something a little different, mix blueberries and bananas together to make a naturally creamy smoothie.
Eat a Few More Grapefruits
High carb foods aren’t all fruits, but fruits are some of the best options. Citrus fruits are high in carbs and will help to curb the sugar cravings when you’re on a diet.
There are claims that grapefruits are negative calories. That isn’t quite the case. No food has a negative number of calories. However, eating a whole grapefruit can take more calories to digest and burn than you would gain from eating it.
Only around 9% of grapefruits are carbs, but this is still considered high. Grapefruits also have a lot of minerals, vitamins, and plant compounds that will help to maintain your overall health. They support your cell structure, and the fibers will keep your digestive system in full working order.
Grapefruits have been linked to good cholesterol levels and reduce the chances of developing kidney stones. They are excellent for weight loss, digestive health, and reduce the risk of developing colon cancer.
By curbing the sugar cravings, you will also find your overall diet is healthier. You don’t need a lot of grapefruits in your day to gain the benefits. Start your day with half a grapefruit or opt for the half with your lunch and you’ll find you instantly start benefiting.
Replace White Potatoes with Sweet Potatoes
While white potatoes are good for high carb levels, sweet potatoes are better for your health. They’re also tastier, especially if you like sweeter root vegetables.
18-21% of sweet potatoes are made up of carbs. These carbs are fiber, starch, and sugar, offering a variety of health benefits.
As they’re orange in color, it’s understandable to assume they are high in vitamin C and A. This is the case. Sweet potatoes will help to support your immune system, improve your eyesight, and repair some muscle damage (through the beta-carotene in the vitamin A). Sweet potatoes also have plenty of antioxidants, which will help to reduce the risk of cancers, dementia, and many other diseases.
Let’s not forget about the potassium content. We mistakenly believe that bananas are the best for potassium. This is certainly not true. Sweet potatoes are the best. The potassium helps to support the energy levels, reducing the blood sugar levels and the insulin response at the same time.
And we can’t forget how filling they are. You can replace your white potatoes for sweet potatoes in every meal you make. Sweet potatoes make excellent mash with some carrots or parsnips and will also work well in frittatas and as jacket potatoes.
Add Kidney Beans to Your Meals
Kidney beans tend to get looked over. In fact, most of the legume family is overlooked when it comes to a healthy diet. Beans are especially good for vegetarians, due to the amount of protein that is offered.
However, kidney beans are also a good source of healthy carbs. Cooked kidney beans have 22.8% of carbs, through fiber and starches. The lack of sugar carbs is good since it means less risk of blood sugar spikes and a release of insulin. You have a lower risk of Type II diabetes development and sugar crashes.
Kidney beans are also excellent sources of various nutrients, including isoflavones and anthocyanins (two powerful antioxidants). Therefore kidney beans have been linked to the reducedrisk of developing various types of cancers, including colon, intestinal, and stomach cancers.
Of course, the levels of protein will also ensure healthier muscles.
You need to make sure that all kidney beans are fully cooked before eating. Uncooked beans are toxic to the body and can cause more problems than good. Your muscles are more likely to repair and recover from workouts and normal use quicker. You’ll gain better strength, which means more calorie burning to aid with weight loss.
You’ll likely add kidney beans to a chili, but try adding them to stews and soups too.
If you’ve had enough kidney beans, you can use white or black beans instead. They are also good for high levels of carbs.
What Are You Looking for in Healthy Carbs?
What exactly makes a carb healthy? We’ve looked at seven excellent carbs to add to your diet, but what is it that they all have? It’s not just the micronutrients, but the macronutrients within them.
Healthy carbs are full of fiber and starch. Both works together with the sugary carbs to help slow down the sugars metabolizing in the blood. This is essential. It doesn’t matter about the other nutrients if the carbs instantly metabolize in the blood—causing glucose.
High glucose levels will lead to an increase in insulin. Eventually, the body gets used to the amount of insulin within the body, and that leads to resistance. The body then needs to produce more insulin to tackle the same levels of glucose, which eventually the body becomes resistant to. Soon there is too much insulin, and the body struggles to maintain a healthy lifestyle. You are at a higher risk of developing Type II diabetes by eating high levels of sugar carbs.
Fruits are good sources of healthy carbs due to the fiber, but you need to eat them whole or turn them into smoothies. If you juice the fruits, you remove all the fiber and starches. This causes the sugars to be released, and they will metabolize into the body. You lose all the benefits and put yourself at risk of health complications.
It’s Easy to Add Healthy Carbs to Your Diet
Healthy carbs are a necessity. Not all carbs are evil. They are good sources of energy throughout the day. You don’t need to add carbs to every single meal of the day, but do try to add them to more of your diet. The above seven foods are quick and easy to add to your diet and are extremely healthy for you.
It’s possible to use healthy carbs in the main meal, as a snack, or even as a dessert. Plan to add the seven above to your diet today.